Driving a Hard Bargain?

My wife and I made an offer on a house this week. The question we faced: how much to offer?


There were several factors to consider, even before we saw the house. 

  • On initial contact with the vendor’s agent, we stated our budget.
  • The asking price was about £2,000 beyond what we can afford.
  • The vendor’s agent said that the vendor was open to offers.

 So, it was safe to assume that the vendor would accept an offer that is within out budget.

On the day we saw the house, we also saw several others before it. One of the agents that we met:

  • Had valued the property, for her agency, but lost it to the vendor’s agent.
  • Guessed that we would like it.
  • Knew that an offer had already been accepted on the property, but that the sale had fallen through.
  • Told us what that offer actually was: £2,000 less than the asking price.
  • Suggested we offer £4,000 less than the asking price.

So, the vendor had already accepted an offer £2,000 less than the asking price, which was exactly out budget.

The Question 

But how much should we offer?

  • The asking price? Obviously not. The vendor had already accepted lower.
  • £2,000 less than the asking price? We could be confident of acceptance.
  • £3,000 less than the asking price? Possibly.
  • £4,000 less than the asking price? Possibly. That was the advice we were given by another agent.

 My gut feeling was £3,000 off the asking price. But my head said, try £4,000 less.


I decided to pray about it.

Immediately, I thought of something I had read earlier in the week:

Proverbs 11:26 (The Message):

Curses on those who drive a hard bargain!
Blessings on all who play fair and square!

Our Offer 

Well, to ask the vendor to take £4,000 off the price of their (beautiful) home would have been a big ask, and certainly a hard bargain. On the other hand, £3,000 off seemed fair. I went for it.

The offer was rejected.

However, the vendor’s agent hinted that the vendor would consider the offer if that was the best we could do. I told the agent that this was close to our maximum. In response the vendor’s agent went back to the vendor and said that this was our final offer.

The Result 

The offer was accepted!

Had I offered less than I did, the vendor would almost certaily have rejected it outright. They might well have pushed us up and up, assuming (correctly) that we were playing games. We might well have ended up paying considerably more.

As it was, I believe that I made a fair offer.


I believe that God favours those who seek his wisdom.

We are (assuming the sale goes through) £1,000 better off for having sought God that we would otherwise have been.

Perhaps more importantly, my conscience is clear.


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